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General Updates

- What Next for Young People in Nursing Homes?
- National Disability Insurance Scheme Update
- Productivity Commission's Final Report into Disability Care and Support
- Commencement of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 - 1 August 2011
- New Report on Technology and Deafblindness
- Tram Route 86 Improvements to Northcote Stage 1B update
- Too Costly to Help Disabled at School
- Carer Solutions Australia
- ATSI People with a Disability: Wellbeing, Participation and Support

What Next for Young People in Nursing Homes?

Dianne Winkler
The five-year national Young People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) program, which aimed to reduce the number of young people with disability living in aged care nursing homes (with the first priority being those aged less than 50), concluded in June 2011. The Summer Foundation and the Monash University Department of Occupational Therapy have just released a White Paper that summarises recent research regarding the social inclusion of young people in nursing homes and outlines the policy and practical challenges related to this issue.

In addition to creating these new services the program has provided enhancement packages to 409 young people who remain in nursing homes because they either chose to remain in a nursing home or no alternative was available. These support packages have been used to increase participation in the community, support family and friendship contact, provide therapy and purchase important aids or pieces of equipment.

Without sustained investment in new accommodation options and a dedicated program, young people in nursing homes will once again be lost in the gaps between health, disability and aged care.

Further Information:
What Next for Young People in Nursing Homes? - Full Article

National Disability Insurance Scheme Update

The Government has announced that they share the vision for a National Disability Insurance Scheme and will begin laying the foundations for its introduction.

They also released the final report by the Productivity Commission into the NDIS.

Read the Government's Announcement and the Productivity Commission's Report.

We're trawling through the detail of the announcement and the report, but first we wanted to say a huge thank you. You made this happen. By coming together, supporting the campaign and taking action, you showed our politicians that Every Australian Counts.

The Government's announcement today shows that when we speak up, they are prepared to listen. But as the Government has made clear, there is more to do. We are waiting for the Opposition to come out in strong support of the Productivity Commission's recommendations. And over the coming weeks and months we will all want to work to ensure the government gets the details right. But first let's take some time to celebrate this colossal win for people with disabilities, their families and carers.

After that, let's roll up our sleeves and work to make the NDIS the best it can be.

John Della Bosca
and the Every Australian Counts team
Website: www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au

Productivity Commission's Final Report into Disability Care and Support

Joint Media Release, Prime Minister, Minister for Community Services, Assistant Treasurer, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, 10 August 2011

The Gillard Labor Government announced that it will start work immediately with states and territories on measures that will build the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, following the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into the matter.

The Government asked the Productivity Commission to examine reform of disability support services because we believe that the system we have today is not delivering the kind of care and support Australians expect for people with disability.

The main recommendations of the Productivity Commission are:
· A National Disability Insurance Scheme should be created to provide all Australians with insurance for the costs of support if they or a family member acquire a disability. The scheme will provide individually tailored care and support to around 410 000 people with significant disabilities.
· A National Injury Insurance Scheme should be created to provide no fault insurance for anyone who suffers a catastrophic injury.

The Productivity Commission’s report finds that it would take at least seven years to transform disability services.
The Australian Government supports the Productivity Commission’s vision for a system that provides individuals with the support they need over the course of their lifetime, and wants reform of disability services that is financially sustainable.

In line with the Productivity Commission’s recommendations, the Government, with the States and Territories, will start work immediately on building the foundations for reform. We will:
· Deliver an immediate, additional $10 million, consistent with the PC recommendations, to support this technical policy work;
· Move to establish a COAG Select Council of Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories to lead reform in this area at COAG next month;
· Take steps to establish an Advisory Group to the Select Council, led by Dr Jeff Harmer, to provide expert advice on delivering the foundations for reform and preparation for launch.

Further Information:
Read the full article and the outline for future policy work at Productivity Commission's Final Report into Disability Care and Support.

Commencement of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 - 1 Aug 2011

The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 came into effect in Victoria on Monday August 1. The Act cherry-picks the best elements of discrimination law in Australia and overseas to provide Victorians with the best protections available.

While the objectives of the Act in Victoria remain unchanged – the progressive realisation of substantive equality and the identification and elimination of systemic discrimination – the changes to the Act do reflect just how far we have come in Victoria in terms of building equality law. It marks an evolution, not a revolution in tackling systemic discrimination.

The new Act aims to strengthen discrimination laws in Victoria by changing some key definitions, creating new responsibilities for the Commission and strengthening the Commission’s role in helping government, business and the community to identify and eliminate discrimination.

The most important features of the new Act are:
· introducing a positive duty to eliminate discrimination, which obliges organisations covered by the law to take proactive, reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation
· introducing a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities in employment, education and provision of goods and services
· providing an extended definition of disability.
· the Commission will continue to offer a streamlined dispute resolution service which will provide quick, informal, flexible and free assistance to resolve claims of discrimination brought to the Commission.

To learn more about the changes to the Act and what they mean for you, download the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 Quick Guide or contact our Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153.

New Report on Technology & Deafblindness

Able Australia & ACCAN have released a report calling for better support for deafblind people to access customised telecommunications solutions.

The report, Telecommunications and Deafblind Australians, provides the results of a survey of 71 respondents, the first of its kind to focus specifically on telecommunications access and usage by people experiencing deafblindness.

The report identifies the following broad challenges deafblind people face in accessing telecommunications:
· Insufficient funding assistance to purchase required specialised equipment
· Lack of training or support for deafblind people to learn how to use telecommunication equipment
· Insufficient funding for support staff and Interpreters who can facilitate this training

Further Information:
New Report on Technology & Deafblindness

Tram Route 86 Improvements to Northcote Stage 1B

Stage 1B of the tram route 86 improvement project on High Street, between Clarke Street and Separation Street, is soon to become a reality.

The main construction works are scheduled to commence on Sunday 2 October 2011 and are planned to be completed by early Monday 10 October 2011.

This stage of the project will include:
• Extensive tram track renewals from Clarke Street to south of Separation Street
• The installation of two pairs of kerb extension tram stops
– one pair at the Northcote Town Hall (stop 31) and the other outside the Northcote Social Club (stop 32).
• Extensive streetscaping works.

Further Information:
Tram Route 86 Improvements to Northcote Stage 1B Flyer (.PDF)

Too Costly to Help Disabled at School

Michelle Griffin, The Age, August 26, 2011

Victorian education authorities insist they have the right to restrict the number of integration aides and other specialists that they hire - even if it means discriminating against students with disabilities.

And the state says it would cost almost $1 billion if it had to hire an integration aide for every student with an IQ of 75 or less, which it could not afford.

The lawyers for Victoria's Education Department are arguing that states' rights trump the Federal Disability Discrimination Act in a submission to a discrimination case currently being considered by the Federal Court.

Jade Sievwright, a Victorian teenager with an IQ of around 70, is suing the Education Department for discrimination, claiming it failed to provide her with the integration aide and speech therapist she needs to reach her full potential. The Education Department is arguing that even if it is found to have discriminated against Ms Sievwright by failing to provide her with a full-time aide and a speech therapist, ''it is beyond Commonwealth legislative power'' to compel the state to hire these education aides.

The submission states that it would cost $975 million to provide full-time integration aides to all students with an IQ of 75 or less in the state school system, and would mean employing 20,000 staff across 1539 schools - an average of 13 staff per school.

This argument on constitutional grounds has horrified disability advocates, who fear it may have serious ramifications for other discrimination cases. ''Put simply, the state of Victoria's argument is that even if the Federal Court decides a child requires a full-time aide, it cannot order the state to provide it because to do so would amount to interfering with a basic function of the state,'' said solicitor Gabriel Kuek of Access Law, the firm representing Ms Sievwright.

Further Information:
Too Costly to Help Disabled at School - Full Article

Carer Solutions Australia

CSA is an organisation that offers – ‘A person centered approach to an individual’s care’ via eliminating the administration burden from families of arranging their respite.

Carer Solutions Australia encourages its clients to locate a carer or carers that fulfil the requirements of the family, is capable of performing the duties they require and is available at the times that suit the client.

Carer Solutions Australia is a must for Direct Payments Users with DHS and also for those with an ISP package. We will take on much of the administrative work associated with employing carers and supply the client with an invoice which will comply with DHS requirements as evidence of the expenditure should they ever be audited.

Carer Solutions Australia will:
• Allow for flexibility in carer choice
• Significantly reduce the administrative burden of employing carers
• Be an affordable alternative
• Provide on-going co-ordination support
• Ensure carer employment obligations are met
• Work within, and understand, different funding arrangements
• Give clients back a precious resource… time
Visit – www.carersolutions.com.au

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disability: Wellbeing, Participation and Support

This report explores the experience of Indigenous people with disability compared with Indigenous people without disability and all Australians with similar severity of disability.

It addresses how they are faring in terms of five key areas reflecting aspects of participation in the context of prevalence rates. Indigenous people in Australia have rates of ill-health and disability substantially higher than other Australians. Census 2006 data suggest that Indigenous people are 2-3 times more likely to need assistance with the core activities of daily living (self-care, communication and mobility) than non-Indigenous people.

Further Information:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disability: Wellbeing, Participation and Support - Full Article

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